As a firm of solicitors dealing with the resolution of disputes, we are often asked for advice by consumers about problems with faulty goods.

Unfortunately the economies of scale mean that often it is only in cases where the goods are of high value (in excess of £10,000) where we are able to usefully assist and take on a particular case. This is because claims under £10,000 fall into the Small Claims Court jurisdiction where it is the norm that legal costs are not ordered to be paid by the losing party.

There was recently some welcome news for consumers who have problems with goods bought from a retailer with the launch of The Retail Ombudsman Service

The service is free and is overseen by barrister Dean Dunham, “The Retail Ombudsman” (TRO).

Not all retailers belong to the scheme. This can be checked by looking for their TRO logo. The scheme is not compulsory but it is anticipated that many online, high street and supermarket retailers will join.

A particularly hot topic with the rise in popularity of online sales is highly likely to be that of delivery. Here TRO can examine who is responsible for the loss – the retailer or the delivery company.

TRO is there to try to mediate a full and final settlement of the dispute. To use the service a complaint must have been lodged with the retailer at least 8 weeks previously and there has been no response or no satisfactory response. The complaint to the TRO can be made online or via post. If the final decision is accepted by the party it is in favour of then the dispute ends and legal action cannot ensue.

TRO does not deal with claims against financial institutions […]